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AU Election Observer mission calls for peaceful polls in Kenya

By Njoroge Kaburo and David Musyoka NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Africa Union (AU) on Thursday called for free, fair and peaceful elections in Kenya and lauded the Judiciary for its preparedness in resolution of poll disputes.

Speaking separately during a meeting with Chief Justice David Maraga and President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, the AU Election Observer mission, led by former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki who was accompanied by AU Chairman Moussa Faki expressed confidence the Aug. 8 elections will be peaceful.

During the meeting with chief justice, Mbeki said those dissatisfied with election results should seek arbitration from the courts.

The team said the AU was following the Kenyan elections keenly and stressed the need for strict observation of the law so that the elections can be free and fair.

They said they were in the country to demonstrate their solidarity with Kenya as it goes into the general election, saying that they have met with various groups including politicians and the electoral body, IEBC. 

They called for respect for justice by all actors, arguing that failing to do so would be bad for the country.

During the meeting, Justice Maraga said the Judiciary had taken various measures that include designating magistrates who will deal with election related matters and amending the Supreme Court (Presidential Election Petition) Rules 2017, which are expected to be gazetted soon.

“The Judiciary is doing everything possible to ensure elections are held within constitutional timelines. We are doing our part, the best way we can,” Maraga said.

During the meeting with Kenyatta, the Kenyan leader told the AU mission that the opposition was engaged in a blatant campaign to force a postponement of August elections to subvert the will of Kenyans.

A statement issued after the meeting said Kenyatta spoke of a pattern of actions by opposition leaders that demonstrated their resolve to sabotage the elections.

He said the opposition is aiming for chaos and is not interested in a fair contest where voters chose the victorious.

“We have persistently declared that we are ready to accept the will of the people, but the opposition adamantly refuses to submit itself to that commitment.

“The reason is simple.

“Subversion of the will of Kenyans,” he said.

The President also informed Mbeki’s team that the opposition’s attack on those in charge of securing the country as well as the elections, was a clear sign of their intention to cause chaos.

“The responsibility of securing the elections and the country lies with the government,” said the President as he promised that the elections will be free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful.

Kenyatta said he has made many compromises during the preparations for the election, but one thing he will not accede to is a change of the polls date.

He said elections must take place on Aug. 8 as provided for by the Constitution and anything less would be a subversion of the people’s will.

The AU chairperson said Kenya’s stability is crucial for the region and the continental body wants the country to have a peaceful election.



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